100-Year-Old Israeli General: We Razed Arab Villages, So What?
(res.) Yitzhak Pundak: If we hadn't done it, there would be a
million more Arabs and there would be no Israel.
By Gil Ronen
June 14, 2013
Clearing House - "Arutz
Brig. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak
Pundak is celebrating his hundredth birthday. Pundak was the
commander of the 53rd Battalion of the Givati Brigade in the War
of Independence and went on to supervise the establishment of
the Armored Corps. He was also Ambassador in Tanzania and a
founder of Arad.
In an interview on IDF Radio, Pundak confirmed that forces under
his command razed Arab villages in 1948. “My conscience is at
ease with that, because if we hadn't done so, then there would
be no state by now. There would be a million more Arabs,” he
Asked why he still finds it so important to lecture to soldiers,
at his advanced age, he explained: "Just like in 1948, the
country is in a state of danger – and if the Jews do not fight
as we did in the War of Independence, the state is in danger.”
He predicted that if a war breaks out again, Jews will be
capable of the same kind of self-sacrifice as in 1948.
"When there is a war, people unite,” he explained. “Afterward,
they form parties and become divided.”
He spoke with pain of the 145 soldiers who were killed under his
command over the years, and said that if they woke up
miraculously and saw the divided country of today, "they would
run back to their graves."
And yet, when asked if he feels proud of his country, he said
that his pride runs "as high as the rooftop."
Pundak, who was the governor of Gaza in the early 1970s, said
that the credit that is usually given to Ariel Sharon for
stopping Arab terror in Gaza in 1971 is mistaken. He said that
Sharon was an unnecessarily cruel commander who once said at a
meeting with officers that he would offer champagne to whoever
killed an enemy fighter – and whoever brings him a wounded enemy
"will drink soda."
He said: “I told him, 'You are not my commander, I am not coming
to your meetings.'”
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